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March 2015 - On March 20, 2015, the 8th annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Native people across the U.S. challenge individuals, health providers, and government agencies to increase both education efforts and HIV testing in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

“For years, we focused on HIV prevention, alone. Now we need to initiate discussions surrounding chronic HIV management in Indian country and highlight the importance of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP ) in preventing HIV/AIDS.” - Michaela Grey, MPH, Deputy Director, National Native American AIDS Prevention Center. Also of concern is that lack of accurate data and the exclusion of Native data in the HIV national surveillance reports. “Our highest risk population, Two-Spirit/MSM, are not a priority for testing at our IHS health facilities, nor are the national prevalence statistics representative of the true picture of the infection throughout our population. We must change this, if we are to maintain a place in the funding arena and continue to offer capacity building services for Native people.” –Pamela Jumper Thurman, Ph.D. Director National Center for Community Readiness/CA7AE.

According to the CDC, 2011 HIV Surveillance Report, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) ranked third and fifth, respectively, of the estimated rates of HIV infections when compared to all other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Within that CDC 2011 Surveillance Report, CDC reported that both AI/AN men and women had the highest percent of estimated diagnoses of HIV infection attributed to injection drug use (IDU), compared with all other races/ethnicities in the United States. However, the National Center for Health Statistics, 2011 National Health Interview Survey found that over 70% of NHPI and almost 43% of AI/AN Adults have never been tested for HIV. Accurate surveillance relies on testing data, which is essential to document need for funding additional HIV testing and prevention efforts. Its important to understand that the CDC 2011 Surveillance Report, with the exception of the State of Arizona that maintains a data sharing agreement with tribal facilities, does not include testing data from most Native focused health facilities. To view the full CDC 2011 HIV Surveillance Report, follow this link:

In January 2013, the CDC published Improving HIV Surveillance Among American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States. Key recommendations included promoting routine, opt-out HIV testing and improving race/ethnicity classification of AI/ANs in HIV surveillance data; working through a Tribal Liaison, Indian Health Board (IHB), or Tribal Epidemiology Center (TEC) to identify data needs; and establishing formal or informal data-sharing agreements to ensure that data reach those empowered to use them for public health action in AI/AN communities. Local health departments and government agencies use HIV epidemiological data including HIV prevalence, or the estimated number of people living with HIV, to identify the populations most affected by the epidemic in their areas. However, this data was unsuccessful in painting the full picture of the disease in smaller racial/ethnic populations, not unlike the AI/AN/NHPI, who find it difficult to access HIV treatment or testing services. To review the entire report, please follow this link: cies_ .

Get involved!
“The Center for Prevention and Wellness (CPW) implements the Tribal BEAR Project through Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.The BEAR Project serves to honor our Native ancestors through our efforts to protect American Indians and Alaska Natives by providing HIV education to medical providers and support staff serving American Indians on and off reservations across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. We are honored to participate in the National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) through our joint effort with the NNHAAD Committee to provide NW AIDS Education Training Center (NW AETC) webinar speakers on two very important topics that directly affect our Native populations ; What We Need to Know About PrEP (speaker Hillary Liss, MD) and Keys to Increase AI Adherence to HIV Treatment (speaker Jessica Leston, MPH ). Please join us on March 20 th, 2015 in facilitating HIV awareness and education on what you can do to protect yourself, your family and future generations.” - Valerie J. Johnson, RN, Tribal BEAR Project Training Coordinator (Salish and Little Shell Chippewa). Niki Graham, MPH, Center for Prevention & Wellness Program Director (Salish)

Friday, March 20, 2015

10:00 am (MDT) What we need to know about PrEP (Audience: Community) Speaker: Hillary Liss

12:00 pm (MDT) Keys to increase AI Adherence to HIV Treatment (Audience: Providers) Speaker: Jessica Leston


About National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD), observed annually on the spring equinox, is a national community mobilization effort designed to encourage American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, get tested, and get involved in HIV prevention and treatment. This federally recognized awareness day was founded in 2007 and is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Committee partners include Colorado State University’s Commitment to Action for 7th-Generation Awareness & Education (CA7AE), National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC), Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (GPTCHB), Begaye Consulting, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA), Florida Health Dept., Education, Training and Research (ETR), and Salish Kootenai College (SKC), and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to find out more please visit and To request NNHAAD materials (Posters, Save-The-Date cards, Fact Sheets), please visit


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